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Los Angeles, Calif.

Projected bottom in home values: Q1 2012
Projected 1-year home value growth: +0.9%
Peak in home values: May 2006
Fall from peak: -38%

“Los Angeles typifies that prognosis of a long, flat bottom, with an increase just under 1 percent in growth,” says Humphries, who points out that the city is no stranger to housing recessions. One thing motivating buyers is that home affordability is on the rise — the city’s rental index is up 4 percent this year, while home values over the same period are down 5.4 percent. What helps Los Angeles the most is that it hasn't seen an overcorrection to the same extent as other cities, sowing the seeds for further price stabilization.

For Los Angeles, as well as the rest of the country, the biggest risk to a turnaround remains unemployment. If job growth begins to peter out or there are more signs pointing to a weaker overall economy, many buyers may choose to sit out another year, putting off the potential recovery, says Humphries.

Photo: Frazer Harrison | Getty Images